Ameren Illinois plans to spend millions to upgrade underground gas pipes

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by Matt Sczesny , News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 13 at 10:45 PM

 (KMOV) -- It’s not visible but federal records show over 1,700 miles of underground fuel pipes crisscross the St Louis metropolitan area and many of those pipelines are decades old.

Carl Weimer of the Pipeline Safety Trust said around 50-percent of the two million miles of buried pipeline nationwide is 40-years-old.

“You put a steel pipe in the ground, there’s bound to be corrosion,” he told News 4.

Federal records show there are 78,000 miles of underground fuel pipes in Illinois and 37,000 miles in Missouri. These pipes carry a variety of fuels including natural gas, petroleum and propane.

Weimer says, “The pipelines are the safest way to move these fuels but we’re seeing an increase in the number of significant incidents so it’s clear the companies and the regulators need to pay more attention.”

Under a new law passed in Illinois, Ameren Illinois plans to spend $300 million to upgrade underground gas pipes over the next ten years.

Laclede Gas in Missouri didn’t answer questions about their buried natural gas piles in the St Louis area. 

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